Solar-powered vending machines
An Anglo-Spanish firm, Solar Energy Vending, has come up with an off-the-grid, solar-powered vending machine that can be placed anywhere there’s adequate sunlight. Solar panels on top keep the machine’s refrigerator running, and a rechargeable battery provides power at night or during prolonged cloudy periods. A wind turbine can substitute for solar cells in less sunny climes, where hot beverages could make the vending dispensers a popular stop-off along ski runs.
The company has been working on the concept since 2004. At last word machines have been placed at locations throughout Spain and on at least one golf course in the UK, and SEV is currently seeking inquiries from potential distribution partners in other countries. Besides revenue from sales of food and drinks, the machines are also equipped to display advertising.
SEV’s vending machines join a growing number of devices that can be placed just about anywhere, thanks to their reliance on solar energy. Lighted road signs and emergency phones are two other examples. For entrepreneurs and inventors the vending machines illustrate how any common device can be retrofitted for solar and placed in out-of-the-way locations.